Matthew's Moving Forward

My brother Matthew has battled drug addiction for most of his adult life.  On May 5, 2014 he entered a drug rehabilitation program and experienced five glorious months clean and sober.  Our family was so happy to really have him back and we spent tons of time together reconnecting and celebrating his new life.  After moving out of treatment, on September 25th, my brother relapsed and overdosed on heroin.  He layed in the same position without moving for 10-12 hours cutting off blood flow to his legs.  After 4-6 hours tissue begins to die.  When Matthew's roommate found him he couldn't stand up or feel his legs.  He was rushed to the hospital where we were told that he would lose his legs, he had suffered a heart attack, had permanent brain damage, possible spine injury, and kidney failure.  We were suddenly living our worst nightmare.  Three days after arriving at the first hospital a nurse pulled me aside and told me if I wanted my brother to have a chance we should get him transfered to UCI or UCLA, he didn't think the doctors were doing enought to save his legs or kidneys.  Our first miracle was experienced on that same day, a Sunday, when we got him transfered to UCI at 8:30pm.

Matthew's medical treatment became a whirlwind after transferring to UCI.  He was in surgery early Monday morning to open up his legs in an effort to save them.  Over the next two weeks my brother endured 3 surgeries to debris dead tissue which would hopefully reduce the toxins circulating in his body and possibly save his legs.  Over the course of those two weeks, brain damage was ruled out with a new MRI, his heart beat strong with no sign of damage, and x-rays showed that his spine was just fine!  More miracles!  On Wednesday October 8th, my brother had a bilateral amputation of his legs.  Both legs were removed at mid thigh.  They were truly poisoning his body and since the surgery his kidneys are showing promising signs of recovering from all of the stress on his body.  Our prayers are being answered daily.

In the next couple of days Matthew will be moving out of the hospital into an Inpatient Rehabilitative facility to relearn the skills he needs to be independent.  He will be there for 1-3 weeks doing 3-4 hours a day of physical therapy.  A couple of weeks after that he will begin the long process of being fitted for prosthetic legs.  There is a very long road ahead.  Not only will this fund help with the cost of prosthetic legs that will help Matthew get back to the physical activities he has always enjoyed, it will help with unexpected medical expenses and most importantly more drug rehabilitation.

My brother is a fighter and we aren't giving up on him.  He has more work to do here and we are pushing him to realize what that is.  God didn't take him on September 25th for a reason and I fully expect Matthew to figure out why.  We are so blessed that he is still here.

My family thanks you from the bottom of our hearts for your prayers, encouragement and contributions.
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Tera Brewer Stephens 
Huntington Beach, CA
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